The return of United Fresh to Chicago for the 2014 convention was a very positive step for the industry. Co-locating with the Food Marketing Institute gave over 13,000 people access to our industry’s finest to showcase their wares. Beyond that, the energy present in the produce aisles was far beyond that in the rest of the hall.
Now don’t get me wrong, having Palermo’s Pizza located across the aisle from Budweiser was a huge draw for most show goers. But really, who can compete with the huge variety of exciting products and innovative presentations that our group brings to the marketplace? The New Product Awards are a testament to all of the creativity that we bring to the table (literally!).
Retail produce managers were honored for their hard work in the trenches every day, tirelessly promoting fresh produce to individual customers. The top chefs were recognized for their efforts in providing fabulous meals using our products. Numerous schools benefited from the generosity of the industry in providing salad bars and the food bank in Chicago received over 40,000 pounds of fresh produce for distribution to the neediest folks in town.
Jackie Caplan Wiggins was honored as “the embodiment of exceptional leadership, passion and dedication.” She is representative of so many of the high energy individuals that drive us forward. And this wouldn’t be complete without giving thanks to Ron Carkoski for taking on the leadership role at United. His vision coupled with his drive to excellence will propel the association ahead.
Sometimes in the daily grind of buy and sell, receive and ship, bill and collect we lose sight of the bigger picture. When you take the time to become involved with a group like United, you can truly see the rewards that follow the hard work. The energy expended returns many times over!